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How soon for Vyvanse to start working and how long does it last?

Medically reviewed by Leigh Ann Anderson, PharmD. Last updated on June 3, 2020.

Official Answer

by Drugs.com

Key Points

  • Vyvanse (generic name: lisdexamfetamine dimesylate) is a stimulant approved by the FDA to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults and children ages 6 to 17 years of age, as well as moderate-to-severe binge eating disorder in adults.
  • In adults with ADHD, Vyvanse was shown in clinical studies to improve attention at 2 hours and up to 14 hours after taking a dose. It is a long-acting drug that is released slowly over the day.
  • In children with ADHD, aged 6-12, Vyvanse was shown to start working within 1.5 hours after taking the medication and up to 13 hours after the morning dose. In studies, parents noted that Vyvanse is effective throughout the day (up to 6 PM).
  • In the treatment of binge eating disorder, it can take up to 12 weeks for patients to show a significant reduction in their number of binge days per week. In studies a binge day was defined as a day in which the patient had at least one binge episode. In longer-term studies, Vyvanse effectively controlled binge-eating disorder symptoms for at least 38 weeks.
  • Vyvanse is taken as a once-daily oral medication in the morning. The peak effects of dextroamphetamine from either the capsule or tablet formulation are reached in about 3.5 to 4.5 hours. Avoid afternoon or evening doses because it can interfere with sleep. Vyvanse can be taken with or without food.
  • Patients often take Vyvanse as one component of a total treatment program that includes counseling or other therapies.

What medicine is in Vyvanse?

Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine dimesylate) is an oral prescription medication that can be used in adults and children at least 6 years of age to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and Binge Eating Disorder (BED) in adults.

The ingredient in Vyvanse, lisdexamfetamine dimesylate, is considered a prodrug. Prodrugs are inactive when first taken, but then are converted in the body to an active medication. Lisdexamfetamine dimesylate is broken down by red blood cells to dextroamphetamine (the active agent) and l-lysine, an amino acid.

Vyvanse is taken only once a day, in the morning, in either ADHD or BED. In clinical studies in children 6 to 12 years of age with ADHD, Vyvanse effects were maintained throughout the day. Based on parent ratings behavioral effects were evident in the morning (approximately 10 am), afternoon (approximately 2 pm), and early evening (approximately 6 pm).

Vyvanse is in the class of drugs known as central nervous system stimulants. Vyvanse is not used for weight loss or for the treatment of obesity. It is not known if it is safe for this use.

How do I take Vyvanse?

Take Vyvanse once a day in the morning. It’s best to take it in the morning because it can interfere with sleep if taken later in the day. Vyvanse can be taken with or without food. Vyvanse is often started at a lower dose and increased based on your response. Always be sure to take Vyvanse exactly as your doctor tells you to take it.

Your doctor may sometimes stop your Vyvanse treatment for a period of time to check your symptoms of ADHD or binge eating disorder.

Vyvanse comes in capsules or chewable tablets. For children or others who prefer a softer or liquid formulation, the Vyvanse capsules can be opened and taken with yogurt, water or orange juice. Ask your pharmacist how to do this correctly.

Don’t take Vyvanse if you or your child are taking or have taken an anti-depression medicine called a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) within the past 14 days. Also, don’t take Vyvanse if you are sensitive or allergic to Vyvanse or any of its ingredients, or had a reaction to other stimulant medicines.

What are the most common side effects with Vyvanse?

ADHD

In ADHD studies, the most common side effects of Vyvanse (≥5% and at least twice that of placebo) include:

  • anorexia (loss of appetite) or decreased appetite
  • anxiety
  • decreased weight
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness
  • dry mouth
  • irritability
  • insomnia (trouble sleeping)
  • nausea
  • upper abdominal pain
  • vomiting

Decreased appetite can occur in roughly a third of patients, and insomnia (trouble sleeping) ranged from 13% to 27% of patients taking Vyvanse. Other more common adverse effects can include stomach upset, dry mouth, weight loss and anxiety or irritability.

Binge Eating Disorder (BED)

In binge eating disorder (BED) studies, the most common side effects of Vyvanse (≥5% and at least twice that of placebo) include:

  • dry mouth
  • insomnia
  • decreased appetite
  • increased heart rate
  • constipation
  • feeling jittery
  • anxiety

Dry mouth (36%), insomnia (20%), and decreased appetite (8%) were especially prevalent in BED studies.

Vyvanse may increase your blood pressure and heart rate. Tell your doctor if you have any heart problems or heart defects, high blood pressure, or a family history of these problems. Call your doctor right away if you have chest pain, shortness of breath, or fainting while taking Vyvanse.

It’s important to know that central nervous system (CNS) stimulants like Vyvanse have a high potential for drug abuse and dependence. Your doctor will assess the risk for abuse prior to prescribing Vyvanse and monitor you for abuse and dependence. Keep Vyvanse in a safe place to prevent misuse, abuse or theft by others.

Review more side effects with Vyvanse here and discuss them with your doctor.

Bottom Line

  • In adults with ADHD, Vyvanse was shown in clinical studies to improve attention at 2 hours and up to 14 hours after taking a dose.
  • In children with ADHD, aged 6-12, Vyvanse was shown to start working within 1.5 hours after taking the medication and up to 13 hours after the morning dose.
  • Vyvanse is a maintenance (long-term) medication taken once a day in the morning, but your doctor may hold your treatment for a period of time to check your symptoms.
  • Common side effects with Vyvanse often include decreased appetite, trouble sleeping, decreased weight and dry mouth. Let your doctor know if you have high blood pressure.

This is not all the information you need to know about Vyvanse for safe and effective use. Review the full product information here, and discuss with your health care provider.

References
  • Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine dimesylate) [Package insert]. Revised Jan. 2017. Shire US. Lexington, MA. Accessed June 3, 2020 at http://pi.shirecontent.com/PI/PDFs/Vyvanse_USA_ENG.pdf
  • Goodman DW. Lisdexamfetamine dimesylate (vyvanse), a prodrug stimulant for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. P T. 2010;35(5):273‐287. PMCID: PMC2873712

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